South Korea captain Son Heung-min will need time to readjust after undergoing surgery to stabilize a fracture around his left eye, team coach Paulo Bento said after the goalless draw with the Uruguay in the team’s debut in the World Cup this Thursday.
Son, who played in a protective black mask, led the South Korean attack but didn’t make much of an impact as the team failed to shoot into the opposition’s goal.
Bento said the 30-year-old, who was injured during Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League match against Olympique Marseille this month, was only confirmed in the squad in recent days.
“Son is a player who, up until his injury, had solid pace and good performances,” Bento said of Son, who has scored five goals and provided two assists for Spurs this season ahead of the World Cup.
“He had a serious injury, he was inactive for a long time. He only got into the squad in the last few days. After an injury and being exposed to more aggressive matches, it’s only natural that he takes steps to readjust.”
Bento said South Korea had a better first half than the second half, when Uruguay’s squad, which includes veteran striker Luis Suárez and Liverpool’s Darwin Nuñez, were superior.
“I think it was a great match overall, a very competitive match with a very high level of play. Two teams who respect each other,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult match, we knew the quality of our opponents. They have very technically advanced players, very good physically and very experienced. This was an excellent match from our side,” he added.
“We suffered a bit because they are top quality players… but we conceded little to our opponents.”
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